Fenwick among Chicago-area Schools Addressing Racial Inequity

Teenage students share their vision for a better educational environment.

Student representatives from Fenwick, Brother Rice, Nazareth Academy and 22 Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago are coming together to address racial inequities. In partnership with DePaul University, students and school advisers from archdiocesan and independently run high schools gathered online last winter in a series of virtual meetings “to identify challenges in their respective schools and potential solutions to achieve racial justice and equity,” reports Joyce Duriga, editor of the Chicago Catholic newspaper. “Students presented their work to Cardinal Cupich on April 16 during an online meeting.”

“The group, comprising eight students and two staff advisers from each participating high school, began meeting online in February to discuss problems and solutions in their schools with the goal of promoting equality,” continued Ms. Duriga. “During the monthly meetings, each school was asked to create a vision for racial justice represented in ‘jam [vision] boards’ with each school developing individual commitments to racial justice and equity ….” The program developed by DePaul is RISE: Catholic Students RISE for Racial Equity. RISE stands for the process of reflection, inquiry, self-awareness and empathy, according to an April 27th Archdiocese news release.

Fenwick participants are members of the DEI Friars, a group of current students, moderated by faculty members, who lead the conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the student level. DEI Friars focus on messaging in the school, promotion of DEI, and being a safe place to hear concerns from students and faculty about issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in the building, according to the school’s DEI Director Raymond Moland ’96. Senior Vivian Nguyen ’21 (Westchester, IL) is one Fenwick student who decided to get involved. She and three of her classmates — Vaughn-Regan Bledsoe (Maywood, IL), Belema Hart (Oak Brook, IL) and Claire Woods (Brookfield, IL) — also are members of the DEI Friars, a student group focused on diversity, equity and inclusion within the school.

Led by the initiative of Ms. Nguyen, who has one younger brother at Fenwick and another brother entering in the fall, this is the student body’s statement:

Fenwick High School will commit to racial equity by first acknowledging that injustice exists, and then creating a diversely educated and inclusive environment for our students so that we can look at our world through multiple unbiased lenses. By implementing initiatives identified by the Director of DEI, we will further support and focus on the diversity of our students and staff.”

For the Archdiocesan project with the Cardinal, “our students were charged with using the Jamboard as a tool to explain and provide a rationale about the improvements they want to see within Fenwick,” explains Mr. Moland. Jamboard is a digital, interactive whiteboard developed by Google LLC. Here is their breakdown (see above image):

One word that you see throughout our Jamboard is DIVERSITY. We believe that increasing diversity in the student body and within the administration and faculty will help eliminate many issues of injustice we have seen in our school.

We believe that in order for change to happen, we must recognize what the truth is. We have to admit the truth: the truth that we are bound by racism and inequality. We cannot embrace diversity until we understand the truth behind our differences.

The use of HEART and MIND.

Education is one of the most important parts in creating a change. Biases are taught, whether by parents, teachers, peers or the media. Early exposure to diversity and education of racial justice can alter the way a generation sees the world. A change in curriculum at Fenwick through the addition of books by authors of color, a POC [person of color] perspective, and integration of diversity in different subjects will offer the students a new point of view.

Injustice in our school and society extends beyond race. Racism, homophobia, ableism, classism are examples of injustice we see every day. If we do not actively stand against injustice, we are indirectly standing for it. Being passive and doing nothing is just as bad as contributing to the problem. “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” – Alexander Hamilton

We want to see students/teachers of color be able to express themselves freely. A culture day/week might provide us a time and place to allow POC to embrace their cultural differences through clothing, food, music, dance and more.

➢ We want incoming freshmen to feel at home as soon as possible. An outreach program that helps them connect with/shadow POC upperclassmen can be beneficial to their experience at Fenwick High School. Students will be more comfortable knowing that there are people that look like them and care about them in this new environment.

Fenwick Repeats as ACES State Champion!

Friars rank number one in Illinois’ Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science (ACES) STEM competition among schools with less than 1,500 students.

For the second consecutive year, Fenwick High School has finished first in Illinois in the Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science (ACES) competition, formerly known as the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) program. “We are the top STEM school in a division that includes all high schools in the state with 1,500 students or fewer,” reported David Kleinhans, ACES moderator and chair of the Fenwick Physics/ Computer Science Department. “Twenty-four schools competed at the State competition in our division.

Mr. Kleinhans

“We also finished second when looking at schools in our multi-state region,” Mr. Kleinhans continued, “to Clayton High School in Missouri by eight points out of 500 total points. Congratulations to their team and all the other competitors.” This year marks the tenth consecutive year that the Friars have reached the state finals. Since 2012, Fenwick is the only Illinois school to win a first, second or third place State trophy each year — and the only Catholic school to finish in the top three spots.

Approximately one year ago, Kleinhans shared that Fenwick won the IL State ACES science contest for the 2019-21 academic year. “In addition, Fenwick bested all the Missouri schools in attendance to finish first in the Midwest region,” he noted. “I was so proud of our students and their perseverance through the switch to eLearning and eTesting amid the onset of COVID-19.” Like last year, the Fenwick 2021 team was undeterred by the online coaching and test-taking, demonstrating tremendous focus, perseverance and “wild intelligence,” according to their proud coach, to capture another state title. The top five students in each subject area received medals. Fenwick’s individual winners are:

One of 10 senior leaders, Anna Dray ’21 is heading to the University of Notre Dame next school year.

Math – 1st Finley Huggins (perfect score!)
Math – 2nd Logan Maue
Physics – 3rd Anna Dray
Physics – 3rd Daniel Majcher
Physics – 3rd Dmytro Olyva
Chemistry – 4th Finley Huggins
English – 4th Katy Nairn

Logan Maue ’21 will continue his studies at the University of Illinois (Urbana Champaign).

The 14-member team (by class year and in alphabetical order):

SENIORS

  • Anna Abuzatoaie ’21 (Melrose Park, IL, Grace Lutheran School) – either Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania, or University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca, Romania (TBD) 
  • Anthony Battaglia ’21 (Melrose Park, IL, Grace Lutheran School) – University of Notre Dame
  • Katie Cahill ’21 (River Forest, IL, Roosevelt Middle School) – University of Michigan
  • Anna Dray ’21 (Elmhurst, IL, Immaculate Conception Grade School) – University of Notre Dame
  • Therese Giannini ’21 (Wood Dale, IL, Immaculate Conception Grade School, Elmhurst) – Loyola University Chicago
  • Jacob Korus ’21 (River Grove, IL, St. Cyprian Catholic School) – undecided
  • Daniel Majcher ’21 (Chicago, Keystone Montessori School, River Forest) – Northwestern University
  • Logan Maue ’21 (Oak Park, IL, St. Giles Catholic School) – University of Illinois
  • Mary Rose Nelligan ’21 (Oak Park, IL, Ascension Catholic School) – University of Notre Dame
  • Dmytro Olyva ’21 (Cicero, IL, St. Giles Catholic School, Oak Park) ­ – University of Illinois
Finley Huggins ’22 is one of four juniors on the team.

JUNIORS

  • Vince Beltran ’22 (Berwyn, IL, Heritage Middle School)
  • Zach Dahhan ’22 (Elmwood Park, IL, Elm Middle School)
  • Finley Huggins ’22 (Oak Park, IL, Ascension Catholic School)
  • Katy Nairn ’22 (Lombard, IL, Glenn Westlake Middle School)

How to Set the World Afire

Love is like a Northwood’s campfire, spreading warmth amid our world of darkness and sin.

By Fenwick Student Preaching Team Member Mia Scharpf ’22 (Berwyn, IL)

Today is the feast day of St. Catherine, doctor of the Church, patron saint of Italy and Rome, and a Dominican. She dedicated her life to God from a very young age and fought to defend what she called “the vessel of the Church” with her letters and treatise “The Dialogue of Divine Providence.” She was born in 1347 and canonized in 1461.

St. Catherine of Siena

She asks us to “set the world on fire” in several of her quotes and we often hear fire used as a religious symbol in sacraments and the Bible. Tongues of fire came down to the Apostles on Pentecost, God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, John said Jesus will baptize us with fire.

Fire has many purposes and properties. We use it for cooking and for s’mores, and it is the centerpiece of a night at the lake as we laugh with family and friends. Fire helps us stay warm when we are cold and it can help us see when the night is dark. Fire is powerful enough to change what it touches completely; it spreads rapidly and is difficult to extinguish.

Each summer for as long as I can remember, my family has visited my neighbor’s lake house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Days are filled with boating, driving into town, eating too many cinnamon donuts, falling off of tubes and water skis, and they’re ended with all 20 of us sitting around the fire singing with my dad as he plays his guitar. When the sun sets, it gets very cold and dark and the mosquitoes come out in swarms. Without the fire, it would be difficult to find the path to the bunkhouse, it would be freezing cold, and the bugs would eat everyone alive. 

This fire is very similar to the fire described in St. Catherine’s quote. Instead of keeping mosquitoes away and shedding light on a path strewn with pine needles, the fire in St. Catherine’s quote provides warmth and light to a world of darkness and sin. It illuminates the path of Christ and reveals the way of love and joy. It allows us to feel the warmth of His unconditional and transformational love. 

“Be who God made you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

– St. Catherine of Siena

But how do we live as who God made us to be? How do we ignite that spark? The first thing that will probably come to mind is service and volunteer work, but there’s so much more to who God created us to be. We each have been given gifts and talents, and instead of burying them in the ground, God calls us to use them to glorify His name. Whether you are a swimmer, a runner, a singer, or an actor, you can give glory to God by working hard at practice or improving in rehearsal. It’s like receiving a sweatshirt from your grandma for Christmas, and when she sees you wearing it proudly, she feels appreciated and loved. When we use our blessings for good, we give thanks to God and live as he made us to be.

St. Catherine used her gifts to make a difference and protect the Church. She fanned her spark into a flame and set the world on fire with her words and works. St. Catherine asks us all to follow her example of spreading God’s love by sharing our blessings. We are called to set our world on fire with this love, to spread its warmth and light, so powerful that it can transform whoever accepts it. I’m certain St. Catherine chose this symbol because love can spread like, well, fire.

ANOTHER STUDENT PREACHER BLOG INSPIRED BY SAINT CATHERINE

The Giraffe Plan

When their nanny died young and tragically from breast cancer last fall, Fenwick students Wil ’21 and Leah Gurski ’23 knew they had to do something for her young son, Adam. But what?

By Wil Gurski ’21 (Oak Park, IL)

When God calls someone to be a mother, that virtue doesn’t only nurture her own child but cultivates all of those she influences.

Hi! My name is Wil Gurski, and I would like to tell you a story about a woman who fulfilled God’s call to compassion and left a lasting impression on my sister Leah [a Fenwick sophomore] and me.

Young Leah Gurski ’23 (left) and Viola after a manicure for Leah’s birthday.

Eighteen years ago, I was blessed with a second mother, Viola, when she started to take care of me at six months old. She taught me how to count to 10 in Polish, read me bedtime stories from her hometown of Krakow, and she would always take my sister and me to the zoo. Most summers we would go to Brookfield Zoo at least once a week. And every time we went, Viola would insist that we stop by the giraffe enclosure to take pictures. Without a doubt her favorite animal was the giraffe, and, in hindsight, a proud, compassionate and protective mother giraffe perfectly embodies her.

A few years later she had a son, named Adam; naturally, he became a brother to Leah and me. To this day, Adam still gets me in trouble. We play basketball together in the backyard, Minecraft until 1 a.m., watch the exact same TV shows, and one summer we spent the entire day
walking from park to park playing Pokémon Go.

Wil, Leah and Adam celebrating Adam’s first communion.

Then, in August 2020, Viola was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it had tragically spread throughout her body. She soon passed away on September 26th, devastating everyone who had been touched by her kindness.

My sister and I knew we had to do something to help little Adam and his Dad. A few weeks later, Leah came up with the brilliant idea to sell clothing to raise money for Adam’s college tuition. She figured that it would make a big difference for the family if Adam’s future was more secure. So, we decided to create The Giraffe Plan LLC, inspired by Viola’s favorite animal, to spread her love and confidence the same way she did for us.

Viola and a little, four-year-old Adam.

Leah and I know how much an average college charges in tuition, so we had to think big. A simple fundraiser could not cover the amount we needed to raise, but a business could. A business in which all of the profits go directly into Adam’s college savings plan.

Fellow Friar water polo player Pete Buinauskas ’21 (Western Springs, IL) poses in a Giraffe Plan sweatshirt with OPRF senior Isabel Evens.

With our mission in mind, we turned to the most gifted (and patient) graphic designer we knew, Fenwick junior Dylan Fu. He helped design our logos, sweatshirts, website, social media and so much more. Additionally, senior Maddie Miller drafted a six-page marketing plan and a seven-page sponsorship proposal. My Fenwick peers were vital help in securing an awesome sponsorship for our business. A sponsor paid for our entire stock of sweatshirts and financed our LLC, allowing us to donate all of the revenue we receive — without any overhead costs.

My sister and I are incredibly humbled by all of the support we have received in setting up this venture: from friends who have financially supported us, those who have donated their legal counsel, and all who have just believed in us and our mission. Most of all, we are truly grateful for people like you who take the time out of their day to listen to our story. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Check out the website:

THE GIRAFFE PLAN

Adam and Viola sitting in front of the wall of Legos that Adam and Wil assembled. (There is a little giraffe above them.)
Leah and Wil’s Aunt Margie (holding baby Adam) with Viola and her husband, who is also named Adam.
Fenwick swimmers turned Giraffe Plan “models:” Michael Flynn ’22 (left, Brookfield, IL) and Pete Buinauskas ’21 (Western Springs, IL) posing in sweatshirts.

Nothing Great Is Ever Achieved without Challenges

Senior student preacher reflects on faith at school Mass for St. Catherine of Siena.

By Joey Schultz ’21 (Clarendon Hills, IL)

Today, we come together to celebrate the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena. Catherine was born during the 1300s in Siena, Italy during the middle of the Black Plague. She was a Dominican laywoman who devoted her entire life to serving the sick and poor.

During the time of St. Catherine, the pope was living lavishly in Avignon, France, instead of in Rome where the Pope traditionally lived. Catherine realized the problem and called for reform in the Church. She also demanded that the pope move back to Rome, and she ended up playing a key role in moving the papacy back to Rome. Perhaps, Catherine’s biggest impact upon the Catholic world was her writings, which have led her to be declared a Doctor of the Church.

Student Preaching Team member Joey Schultz ’21 is a senior from Clarendon Hills, Illinois.

In looking at some of her writings, I came across a quotation that particularly stood out to me. The words of St. Catherine were, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” There have been many times in my life where I have contemplated my faith. I have questioned God’s existence and role in my life, like I’m sure many of you have.

St. Catherine’s message shows us that there will always be hardships that we endure in order to achieve something great, like a relationship with God. As children of God, we have to persevere through these doubts and pursue a life in complete faith in God. The words of St. Catherine can be brought into our lives as students of Fenwick, too. We as students are called to serve God and be role models for others. It is no easy task to do this, but like St. Catherine said, nothing great is ever achieved without challenges. Everyday we have to endure the grind that is getting up in the morning, going to class, participating in extracurricular activities, coming back home, doing school work, spending time with family and friends, plus many other challenges. On top of all these things, we are expected to live as Christians, through both difficult and easy times.

St. Catherine of Siena (right) is portrayed on stained glass in the Fenwick Chapel.

Have there been any times in your life where you felt too young to make a difference? As a teenager, Catherine was visiting hospitals, helping out the sick and poor. She was such a young woman, yet she was able to make such a big impact on the world around her by devoting her life to serving God and her neighbors. Catherine is a role model, especially for us students, because she shows us that we are never too young to make a difference in the world. Going forward, we should all think of St. Catherine in times of doubt, and we should put our trust in God. 

St. Catherine of Siena serves as a great example of how we should strive to live our lives as Christians. She is an inspiration to all of us, especially women, because of the boundaries and societal norms that she had to break during her time. As a woman during the 14th century, it was much more difficult for her to get into any position of control or influence. Through good works and a passion for justice, she was able to rise up and make a change in the world. St. Catherine shows each and every one of us that we are capable of making a difference in the world through faith and trust in God.

ANOTHER STUDENT PREACHER BLOG INSPIRED BY SAINT CATHERINE

Fenwick TEAMS Wins State!

High-achieving academic results from Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS).


The Fenwick TEAMS team has won State! They defeated their main rivals, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) and University of Chicago Lab School, to be the highest ranked selective school in Illinois for Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS). Our score places Fenwick second in the nation among large selective schools.

The Friars had a perfect essay score from TEAM B (Thérèse Giannini, Dmytro Olyva, Paulina Harnisch and Clare Hill)! Fenwick also had the highest multiple choice and design-build score in all of Illinois from TEAM A (Anna Dray, Ronan Kritsufek, Logan Maue and Dan Majcher).

“The TEAMS competition was remote, but we did have one group in the building,” reports Mr. Roche. The junior group of Zach Dahhan, Katy Nairn, Lily Metz and Hugo Nunez is pictured.

“This is another testament to our high-achieving academic culture cultivated by our school’s wonderful educators,” praises moderator/coach Mr. Kevin Roche ’05, a Fenwick alumnus and self-described “proud moderator who does his best to stay out of the way to let these stars shine. They could not have achieved this effort without all of the excellent Fenwick faculty, who level up these kids daily to be the superstars that they are!”

The team effort was achieved by its 23 members with support from the seemingly 1.000 batting average of Mr. David Kleinhans, who chairs Fenwick’s Computer Science/Physics Department:

SENIORS

Bianca Dimailig
, La Grange, IL (St. Francis Xavier Catholic School)
Anna Dray, Elmhurst, IL (Immaculate Conception Grade School)
Thérèse Giannini, Wood Dale, IL (Immaculate Conception Grade School, Elmhurst)
Paulina Harnisch, River Forest, IL (Ascension Catholic School, Oak Park)
Clare Hill, Western Springs, IL (McClure Junior High)
Ronan Kristufek, Western Springs, IL (McClure Junior High)
Logan Maue, Oak Park, IL (St. Giles School)
Daniel Majcher, Chicago (Keystone Montessori School)
Dmytro Olyva, Cicero, IL (St. Giles School, Oak Park)

JUNIORS

Zachariah Dahhan, Elmwood Park, IL (Elm Middle School)
Paige Davis, Elmhurst, IL (Immaculate Conception Grade School)
LisaGrace Dillon, La Grange Park, IL (St. Francis Xavier Catholic School)
Will Frech, Chicago (St. Josaphat School)
Linden Gierstorf
, Oak Park, IL (Our Lady of the Wayside School, Arlington Heights)
Finley Huggins, Oak Park, IL (Ascension Catholic School)
Katy Nairn
, Lombard, IL (Glenn Westlake Middle School)
Hugo Nunez, Jr.
, Berwyn, IL (St. Leonard Catholic School)
Lilly Metz
, La Grange, IL (William F. Gurrie Middle School)
Grace Simmons, Riverside, IL (St. Mary’s Catholic School)
Will Zimmer
, Oak Park, IL (Ascension Catholic School)


FRESHMEN

Rowan White ’24, Willowbrook, IL (Gower Middle School, Burr Ridge)
Toby Yang
’24, Oak Park, IL (Avery Cooney School, Downers Grove)
Henry Zimmer ’24, Oak Park, IL (Ascension Catholic School)

Congratulations to our State Champions!

4 Seniors from Fenwick Named 2021 Evans Caddie Scholars

Quartet joins more than 15 other Friars, now enrolled at universities around the country, who are fellow recipients of the golf-related, four-year full scholarship.

The Western Golf Association (WGA) and its Evans Scholars Foundation have released the names of four Fenwick High School seniors (in alphabetical order) who will receive the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship for the 2021-25 school years:

Jason Cruz (left) of Chicago/Chicago Academy Elementary School (Sunset Ridge Country Club, Northfield) – Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Cristian Garcia (right) of Chicago/George Rogers Clark Elementary School (Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield) – University of Illinois (Urbana/ Champaign)

Rafal Sieklucki (left) of Chicago/St. Constance (Ridgemoor Country Club, Harwood Heights) – Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

Alessandra Zuleta (below) of Cicero, IL/Saint Frances of Rome School(Glen View Club, Golf, IL) – Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), probable

Alessandra Zuleta

The four soon-to-be graduates will join more than 15 other former Fenwick students presently enrolled in universities as Evans Scholars, including six from the Class of 2020. (Recent alumnus Gabriel Ruggie ’20, of River Forest, IL/St. Luke Parish School and Oak Park Country Club, was awarded the scholarship after completing his first semester of studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.) Each award covers full tuition and housing for four years. An additional 256 Evans Scholarships are being awarded to other Class of ’21 caddies from around the United States.

“The Evans Scholarship Program has provided a truly exceptional opportunity to our students over the years,” said Emily Anderson, one of two college counselors at Fenwick. “Again this year, the selection committee has granted full scholarships to these four seniors. We are proud and grateful.”

Chick Evans

Legendary amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans (left, 1890-1979) aspired to send deserving caddies to college. Sponsoring country clubs can nominate a young man or woman possessing “a strong caddie record, excellent grades, outstanding character and demonstrated financial need,” according to the WGA.

Evans Scholarship Facts

Since they were first awarded to NU students in 1930, more than 11,000 young men and women have been awarded Evans Scholarships to some of the nation’s top universities. Presently, 965 students receive the award. On campus, they live together in a Scholarship House owned by the WGA’s Evans Scholars Foundation. Four additional statistics:

  1. The average value of an Evans Scholarship is $100,000
  2. The college graduation rate for Evans Scholars is 95%
  3. Evans Scholars’ collective, cumulative GPA is 3.3
  4. The program’s scholarship costs exceed $20 million annually

Fenwick Partners with St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School in 5-year Pact

Neighboring Catholic institutions on Washington Blvd. in Oak Park
share a vision of more diversity, equity and inclusion for future students.

St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy Principal Leamy (left) and Fenwick President Fr. Peddicord, O.P. at the April 19 signing ceremony.

Over the past 91 years, Fenwick High School has admitted hundreds of students from the former Catholic parish schools St. Catherine of Siena School and St. Lucy Schools, the predecessor schools to the now combined St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy School (SCSL), which serves approximately 200 children from preschool through eighth grade. Situated in Oak Park, IL, a few blocks east of Fenwick, SCSL borders the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side.

SCSL has raised in excess of $200,000 for the renovation of the gymnasium in Maguire Hall, thanks in part to two major donors — the Malnati and the Barnett families. Mr. and Mrs. Tom Nelson have generously donated towards the new boiler system. Fenwick’s Institutional Advancement Department has agreed to market a gift challenge to match the $200,000 already committed by soliciting from the two schools’ joint alumni base: $100,000 will be dedicated to establishing a scholarship fund supporting SCSL graduates who wish to attend Fenwick and $100,000 to develop the Fenwick Center for Educational Excellence at St. Catherine – St. Lucy School. 

Former Fenwick student Sarai Zamora ’19 helping a St. Catherine St. Lucy grade schooler with a math word problem in 2018.

How the funds will be used:

  • Once raised, $100,000 will go toward constructing and equipping the new “Fenwick Center for Educational Excellence” at SCSL, in conjunction with Fenwick’s existing tutoring program for grade-school students along with other academic initiatives.
  • The other half ($100,000) will go toward establishing the St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and Fenwick Partners Scholarship Fund at Fenwick to benefit incoming students from SCSL.

“All of us at Fenwick are eager to enter into this partnership with St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School,” said Fr. Richard Peddicord, O.P., Fenwick’s president. “ In a very meaningful way, it will help us to live up to our commitment to celebrate diversity, insist upon equity and create a more inclusive community.”

Fenwick DEI Director and alumnus Raymond Moland ’96 (center) is excited about the new initiative.

Raymond Moland, the high school’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and a 1996 graduate of Fenwick, added: “This is an outstanding opportunity for both Fenwick and St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School. It marks the beginning of Fenwick’s new outreach efforts in the community and those in the surrounding area.” (More information on Fenwick’s DEI initiatives.)

Mrs. Sharon Leamy, Principal of SCSL, also shared her thoughts on the partnership agreement: “Fenwick High School’s culture of service and strong sense of family mirrors that of St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School. We believe we are all children of God. We believe there is more to learning than just books. And we believe education is a civil right. We have incredible families and very talented students who make us proud each and every day. We are thrilled a revered institution such as Fenwick recognizes the unique gifts St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School has to offer and is willing to commit to further strengthening this partnership. Coming together through academics, athletics, and service the lives of all the bright, highly motivated, and faith driven students in the halls of both schools will be enriched. And we are so grateful!”

Future Friars

Fenwick High School is interested in realizing all St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy students who demonstrate cognitive intelligence, intellectual curiosity, humility, a desire to excel and who embrace the pillars of the Dominican order. Fenwick will base acceptance of SCSL students on its entrance exam while consulting with the administration of St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School to identify students who can thrive in its demanding environment. DEI Director Mr. Moland will work directly with the SCSL Principal Leamy to identify three to five students per year who meet the academic qualifications to be considered as successful prospective applicants to Fenwick High School. This process can begin in the spring of the student’s seventh-grade year. (More than five qualified candidates can be discussed and considered in any given year.) 

Then, working with third-party scholarship organizations (for example, Big Shoulders, Daniel Murphy, Highsight, Link Unlimited, etc.), the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and Fenwick’s normal financial-aid process, Fenwick will assure that all qualified/admitted students from SCSL are provided a nearly tuition-free education if the student remains at Fenwick for four years.

SCSL teacher and alumna Vanessa Underwood

Vanessa Underwood (left), St. Catherine – St. Lucy class of 1999 alumna and present fifth-grade teacher, shared: “The partnership between SCSL and Fenwick is a wonderful thing! If the scholarship piece was in place while I was a student here at SCSL, Fenwick would have been my top choice. Unfortunately, the cost was too prohibitive. Today, as a teacher here at SCSL, I am thrilled that my students will have the opportunity that I did not have to attend Fenwick. We have such intelligent, talented students, and I know they will be a tremendous asset to Fenwick for years to come.”

Athletics and Activities

As part of the new agreement, for a five-year term beginning in the upcoming 2021-22 school year, Fenwick will be able to use the renovated gymnasium at SCSL as follows:

● Two days a week, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. during the winter season, November 1st to March 15th.

● Three days per week, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. during the winter season, November 1st to March 15th (days negotiable).

For the same five-year term, Fenwick and SCSL will partner with the following:

● Once per season Fenwick/St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy will co-host a middle-school basketball tournament using Fenwick’s and SCSL’s gyms. Both schools will be listed on the tournament title. (Dates to be determined.)

● Free basketball clinics for girls/boys at SCSL at two points throughout the winter.

● SCSL students will receive one weekend practice time in Fenwick’s main gym during each season (fall, winter and spring).

● St. Catherine Siena – St. Lucy students will receive one free family pass to any paid Fenwick event.

Other possible ways for Fenwick and St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy students to interact in the future include joint Christian Service Projects and having Fenwick campus ministry leaders assist with retreats at SCSL.

Principal Leamy (right) concluded: “Ten years ago, the seeds of a wonderful partnership were planted through the development of a tutoring program. St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy School welcomed Fenwick High School students on campus to work with the boys and girls in our after-school program. Over the years, we have seen this initiative develop into an incredibly well-structured program benefitting all involved. With the addition of sports clinics and service projects, the eight blocks separating our two schools have developed into a wonderful bridge of opportunity.”

Fenwick Is Celebrating 92 Years: Fenwick High School, founded in 1929, is a Dominican college preparatory secondary institution with a co-educational enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. Guided by its Dominican Catholic values, its mission is to inspire excellence and educate each student to lead, achieve and serve. Today, Fenwick has a Golden Apple teacher on its faculty and an alumni list that includes a Skylab astronaut, Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, a Heisman Trophy recipient and other leaders making a positive impact locally and internationally. Fenwick is celebrating its 92nd academic year in 2020-21. www.fenwickfriars.com

St. Catherine Siena St. Lucy School 135 Years Strong: With roots planted in 1885, St. Catherine Siena – St. Lucy School has served generations of Oak Park and Austin neighborhood families. We are grounded in faith, proud of where we have been, and exuberant in who we are becoming as a preschool through eighth grade grammar school. An awarded Personalized Learning school, we meet individual learners where they are in their journey and help them map their personal route to success. Educating the whole child, we offer after-school enrichment and encourage participation in our robust athletic program. Modeling our co-founder St. Catherine of Siena, we encourage our students to: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” www.catherinelucy.org 

COVID Can’t Stop Kairos!

Fenwick’s senior-class retreats have been different in 2021, but things are slowly returning to a more “normal” state.

Call it “Pandemic Prayer Power” perhaps, but the coronavirus cannot stop the Fenwick Friars’ KAIROS senior retreats, which have taken place — safely and socially distanced — this winter for members of the Class of 2021!

Fenwick Kairos Director and Math Teacher Mrs. Maria Nowicki

“This year has brought many different challenges,” says Kairos Director Mrs. Maria Nowicki, “but getting back to Bellarmine [retreat house in Barrington, IL] in February was needed, and I know that God had a hand in helping us get there. Our young people have a lot to deal with, and they need God and [need] to know His great love for all of us.

“It has been beautiful to see our students sharing stories of faith and inspiration or simple moments, like 30 kids trying to build a snowman together, especially after the many hardships of the last year,” Mrs. Nowicki continues. “My heart has been touched with the incredible amount of gratitude the senior class has shown when there is so much they could be down about.” What three recent retreatants took away:

“I know I am young, but I can say truthfully that I am going to try and ‘Live the 4th’ every day for the rest of my life. I believe it has shaped me more into the person I am supposed to be and will have a forever impact on how I choose to live my life.”

“I learned to value my friendships and family more, to never forget everyone has hardships that I may not be aware of, and that God loves me and everyone He created so much.

“On Kairos I found that if God brought you to it, He will bring you through it.”

Fenwick Kairos 2021 Photo Gallery:

Continue reading “COVID Can’t Stop Kairos!”

Mathematically, the Friars Are Number 1!

Fenwick won the 3AA Illinois Regional competition in 2021 and placed sixth at the State Meet, where it was one of only two Catholic/private school teams in the Top 10 field.

“Thank you so much to all 40 team members and [to] Ms. Sabbia, who put in so much time and effort to get Fenwick ranked once again as the No. 1 Catholic school,” praises long-time Moderator/Coach Roger Finnell ’59. The State Meet is organized into four divisions, by school enrollment, Mr. Finnell explained, and this year “no Catholic school had a better score [than Fenwick’s 541] in the two most difficult divisions.” (See below.)

Toby Yang ’24 is the State Champ for Algebra 1!

Freshman Toby Yang ’24 (Oak Park, IL) had a perfect score in Algebra 1 and is the Illinois STATE CHAMPION! (Also see below.) He is the second Friars’ student in the 41-year history of the state math contest to have a perfect score in a written event. “The only other was Logan Maue ’21 last year [as a junior] in Algebra 2,” Finnell reports. Maue also hails from Oak Park.

Junior Finley Huggins ’22, another Oak Parker, tied for second in Algebra 2; Maue tied for fourth in Pre-Calculus and senior Daniel Majcher ’21 (Chicago) tied for 7th in Pre-Calc before item analysis broke the ties. (Scroll down for complete competition results.) In February, Huggins posted the highest score in either division at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Math Contest, which Fenwick won (again):

Captain Logan Maue ’21 Reflects

Mr. Finnell deserves all the thanks in the world for all the work he puts into the team each and every year. I have had the great pleasure of having the last three out of my four years at Fenwick being taught math by Mr. Finnell. (I was taught calculus one year by the also legendary teacher Mr. Arscott.) Mr. Finnell has also been in charge of many of the BFG shows I have done. So, from a variety of angles, I have gotten to see and appreciate firsthand all the effort that he puts into making Fenwick such an amazing, special place. He has taught and inspired generations of Fenwick Friars, and I am so incredibly grateful that I had the privilege to be taught and mentored by him.

Logan Maue

This year, practicing for the state competition was filled with difficulties: the state competition date was moved earlier and combined with regionals, among others too. Regardless, we were still grateful that a state competition was occurring in any capacity. Nearing the state competition, Mr. Finnell had many days in a row coaching practices. Still, in light of these difficulties, the team did remarkably well, placing Top 10 in the state once again. The seniors will be heading off to the mysterious water of college. As awesome as the seniors are, I begrudgingly admit that the years to come for the Math Team will be bright, even without us. With Mr. Finnell as the coach (and for every year since the foundation of the ICTM competition), the Fenwick Math Team has performed extraordinarily well for decades, creating a legacy of excellence. Now with phenomenal standouts, such as Finley Huggins and Toby Yang, and many other exceedingly talented Friars (and future Friars, I am sure), this legacy of excellence will undoubtedly continue.

The past four years on the Fenwick Math Team have been excellent. I enjoyed every last second pouring over past problem sets and finding unique solutions to difficult problems. However, the memories I will be carrying with me for the rest of my life are the memories of getting to hang out with my friends, especially the seniors. The seniors on this team are so incredibly talented, with an incredibly diverse range of talents and interests. From many other activities and varsity sports, the number of talents and accomplishments the other seniors have outside of the math team could also fill pages. From Sam Sikora recently qualifying for weightlifting nationals to Ronan Kristufek
becoming a three-time Irish Dancing Mid American Champion (and that’s only two things from two of the seniors!), a group of incredible people come together to compete on the Fenwick Math Team. Getting to be in the company of all these wonderful people has been a blessing, as behind all these layers of accomplishments are the amazing, kind, funny people who I have gotten to know. The memories of the carpools to Concordia, the long haul to Champaign, the time we went to Steak ‘n Shake, and simply talking with each other in the quiet moments all stick out as core memories. Though I will miss these times, I am ever more grateful for them happening.

And here are the regional and state results:

REGIONAL SCORES

Overall Team

1. Fenwick  541
2. Hinsdale South 367
3. Glenbard South 339
4. Riverside-Brookfield 285
5. Fenton 64

Individual Awards

Toby Yang- 1st in Algebra 1
Mallory Turner- 3rd in Geometry
Finley Huggins- 1st in Algebra 2
Hugo Nunez- 2nd in Algebra 2
Logan Maue- 1st in PreCal
Daniel Majcher- 2nd in PreCal

Algebra 1 Team

1. Fenwick 106
2. Hinsdale South 100
3. Riverside-Brookfield 76
4. Glenbard South 40
5. Fenton 26

Geometry Team

1. Fenwick 54
2. Hinsdale South 42
3. Glenbard South 40
4. Riverside-Brookfield 28

Algebra 2 Team

1. Fenwick 110
2. Glenbard South 98
3. Hinsdale South 78
4. Riverside Brookfield 52
5. Fenton 26

Pre-Calculus Team

1. Fenwick 96
2. Riverside-Brookfield 54
3. Glenbard South 46
4. Hinsdale South 32
5. Fenton 10

Calculator Team

1. Fenwick 70
2. Hinsdale South 45
3. Glenbard South 35
Riverside-Brookfield 35

8-person Frosh-Soph Team

1. Fenwick 40
2. Glenbard South 35
3. Hinsdale South 30
4. Riverside-Brookfield 25
5. Fenton 5

8-person Junior-Senior Team

1. Fenwick 65
2. Glenbard South 45
3. Hinsdale South 40
4. Riverside-Brookfield 15

STATE FINAL SCORES
(Awards given for top 10)

Overall Team

1. U of Chicago Lab 800
2. Glenbrook North 732
3. Vernon Hills 649
4. Libertyville 629
5. U of Illinois Lab 609
6. Fenwick 541
7. Marist 456
8. Lake Forest 447
9. John Hersey 418
10. Hononegah 418

Friar Individual Awardees

Toby Yang- 1st in Algebra 1
Finley Huggins- 7th in Algebra 2
Logan Maue- 5th in PreCal
Daniel Majcher- 8th in PreCal

Continue reading “Mathematically, the Friars Are Number 1!”